Oscar Movies: Dream Wife (1953)

Though a minor movie in the career of the great Cary Grant, “Dream Wife,” written and directed by Sidney Sheldon, is a mildly enjoyable film due to the appeal of the star and his leading lady, Deborah Kerr.

Grant plays Clemson Reade, a man who wants to marry an old-fashioned girl that will stay home and take care of his needs.  However, he falls in love with Priscilla “Effie” Effington (Deborah Kerr), a career woman at the State Department. Clemson proposes to Effie at the worst timing possible, in the midst of a major political crisis with the fictitious Middle Eastern nation of Bukistan.  The U.S. wants to stay friendly with Bukistan, which provides reserves of oil.

Tired of waiting for Effie, Clemson meets Princess Tarji (Betta Saint John), who happens to be the daughter of the King of Bukistan; the conservative girl has spent a lifetime of learning how serve her man. Clemson half-seriously sends a telegram proposing to Tarji, who responds by visiting the U.S.

The State Department decides that Effie should look after Tarji while she’s in America. To Clemson’s chagrin, Effie instructs Tarji about the meaning of being a liberated woman.

Sharply uneven, the lightly feminist comedy gets progressively tedious and verbose.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Costume design (b/w): Helen Rose and Herschel McCoy.

Oscar Context:

The winner was Edith Head for Roman Holiday.

Running time: 99 Minutes.

Warner